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                         Vol.4, No.36 [*] June 22, 1999

                   The toughest thing about success is that
                    you've got to keep on being a success.
                               - Irving  Berlin

   GOLAGHAT:  Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament  Mr  Paragdhar  Chaliha
   died on  the night of June 21 at his residence in Sibsagar.  He was
   suffering from prolonged illness.    Mr  Chaliha  was  the  founder
   principal of  Sibsagar  College.    He  was  an  active politician,
   educationist and a social worker.  His last rites will be performed
   on June 22, which will be attended by the Chief Minister  and  high
   officials of Assam.  All offices and institutions in the State will
   remain close from 1 pm on June 22.
   SILCHAR:  Over 40,000 Reangs, who have been languishing  in  relief
   camps in Tripura since 1997, expressed their apprehension that they
   might  be  deprived  of  casting  their votes again in the 13th Lok
   Sabha polls likely to be held in September.  The eligible voters of
   these 40,000 Reangs could not  cast  vote  in  the  Lok  Sabha  and
   Assembly polls in 1998.
   The  Bru  National  Union  (BNU), through a petition, had urged the
   State Election Commission to enable the Reangs to cast their  votes
   as it was done in the case of Kashmiri Pandits, but the plea failed
   to get  a positive response. 
   BNU  president  Bruno  Moha alleged that the names of 10,000 Reangs
   have been deleted from the electoral rolls of Mizoram.  BNU filed a
   writ petition in the Delhi High Court stating that, the Reangs were
   deprived of their right to vote in 1998.
3  DULAL BARUAH MAY JOIN BJP ON JULY 7                   [S:22-JUN-99]
   JORHAT:  The Congress and the Asom Gana Parishad camps  in  Jorhat,
   and  some  of  the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders who are the
   aspirants for the Jorhat Lok  Sabha  seat,  seem  to  be  concerned
   following reports of Dulal Barua's willingness to join the BJP.
   The former minister and senior Janata Dal leader will formally join
   the  BJP  on  July  7 in New Delhi. Sources disclosed that Mr Barua
   will be welcomed by the BJP's State leadership in a  convention  at
   Guwahati  in  the second week of July. It is almost certain that he
   will be an aspirant for the Jorhat Lok Sabha seat. According  to  a
   Jorhat-based Assamese daily, Mr Baruah already joined the BJP.
   GUWAHATI:  With `computer revolution' becoming the new mantra,  the
   Assam  Government  has  embarked  upon  on  an  ambitious scheme to
   computerise all the district headquarters and link it  directly  to
   the chief  minister's  office.    This is for the first time that a
   northeastern State has decided  to  link  its  districts  with  the
   capital through computers.
   Mahanta  said  experts  from  the National Informatics Centre (NIC)
   have been assigned the task of establishing the  computer  network.
   NIC   has  already  made  available  video-conferencing  facilities
   between the Northeast and sixteen other sites  across  the  country
   including New  Delhi.    NIC  officials  say the whole process will
   require two or three months to complete the network.
   `Once the network between the district headquarters and  my  office
   is  done,  we  shall  definitely  be  able  to  perform  much  more
   effectively as far as development and law and order related matters
   are concerned',  the  Chief  Minister  to  IANS  in  an  interview.
   Besides,  this  will help us cut down on expenses to a large extent
   as telephone bills will be reduced and also, we won't have  to  ask
   the deputy commissioners to come to Guwahati for meetings, he said
   `We are working on a war-footing.  All help and technical expertise
   is being provided to the Assam government  and  once  the  computer
   system   gets   working,   we  hope  to  extend  video-conferencing
   facilities to all district  headquarters  in  the  next  couple  of
   years',  Deepak Goswami, State Informatics Officer of NIC Guwahati,
   said.  A computer network is already in existence,  but  its  speed
   was not adequate to cater to a large volume of data.  Now, with the
   new setup, Assam is in for a revolution, Mr Goswami said.
   GOALPARA:  If everything goes as planned, the 142.5 km  long  broad
   gauge   (BG)   rail  track  connecting  the  recently  commissioned
   Naranarayan Setu, the rail-cum-road bridge over  Brahmaputra,  with
   Kamakhya  and  Guwahati  stations  via  Goalpara  district  and the
   southeastern part of Kamrup district is likely to  be  commissioned
   by March 2000, if not earlier, sources said.
   GUWAHATI:    Assam   Chief   Minister   P.K.Mahanta   welcomed  the
   introduction of  Calcutta-Dhaka  bus  service  and  sought  similar
   service between Assam and Bangladesh.  Complimenting Prime Minister
   Atal Behari Vajpayee for taking the initiative for the bus service,
   Mahanta hoped that it would further improve bilateral ties.
   GUWAHATI:   The  Assam  Government  is  seriously  considering  the
   Centre's proposal to amend certain  clauses  of  the  Anti-Abortion
   Act,  1971 with a view to decimate the maternal mortality rates and
   better the medical  facilities  to  pregnant  women.  State  Health
   Department  sources  said  that the matter is under study, and will
   soon give a final say to the Centre.
   The Government of India had recently issued a circular to  all  the
   State Health Departments, seeking their views on amending clause 3,
   subclause 4 of the Act, which envisages that a married woman, below
   18  years  of  age,  has  had to take consent from her guardian for
   abortion. However, the new proposal  confers  the  woman  below  18
   years, the right to take an independent decision in this regard.
   TERRACE PARK (OHIO):  I would like to comment  on  paragraph  8  of
   Assam On  Line,  June  18,  1999.  `FILM TO RELIVE THE JOURNEY DOWN
   STILLWELL ROAD.' The statement in the 4th sub-paragraph `It will go
   a long way in establishing the origin of an ambitious road  project
   by the British.' (It was not a British project.)
   The whole project was established  by  the  Americans  who  had  to
   outflank the lost parts of the Burma Road so that supplies could be
   moved  from Calcutta-Ledo-Kunming to support both the US fliers who
   composed the `Flying Tigers' (American Volunteer Group) who  fought
   the air war over Chinese skies early in the war, in addition to the
   Chinese forces which had been trained in Ramgarh, India.
   I  traveled  practically the length of that road clear to Bhamo and
   never did see a Brit to my recollection.  There were many black  US
   Engineer units  and  some staffed by whites.  I was a member of the
   45th Engineer Regiment which was composed of  black  soldiers  with
   white officers.    All  the equipment was American made as were the
   builders of the Ledo/Stillwell Road.
   Additionally there were three 4 inch pipelines which paralleled the
   road.  There was one pipeline each for Motor Gasoline, Aviation Gas
   and Diesel  fuel.  Naturally, a pipeline of this length was quite a
   feat since  it  traveled  over  the  mountains,  across  rivers  to
   eventually reach  China.  
   Many  pumping  stations were required to keep the products flowing.
   The personnel of the Pipeline companies were for the most part  men
   who  were recruited from Texas and Oklahoma who were well versed in
   this type of work.  I might add that a number of airstrips had been
   built along the Road  to  include  one  at  Shingbyang  another  at
   Tingkawk Sakan and one at Myitkyina.
   The Sawmill companies whose task was to fell trees in  the  jungle,
   snake  the  logs  out  to the mill where bridge timbers were cut by
   power saws.  The men of the Sawmill outfits were recruited from our
   Pacific Northwest where felling huge trees is a way of life.
   I would encourage the producers of this film effort to go to the US
   Military Attache  in  New  Delhi  to  obtain  the  history  of  the
   construction  of the Stillwell Road and to thus provide an accurate
   portrayal of the job.  I think that the idea of such a  documentary
   is a fine one, but credit should be given to those who accomplished
   the job.  - F.S.Obradovich, USA.  [Edited for clarity -Mozz]

   GOLAGHAT:   In  response  to  an  appeal  over  the Internet by the
   Golaghat Deputy Commissioner seeking help, several Assamese  living
   abroad  have  expressed  their  willingness  to  contribute towards
   development of civic amenities of  Golaghat  town. 
   According  to Dainik Janambhumi, a Jorhat-based Assamese daily, the
   Deputy Commissioner, Dr Ravi Kota had disclosed that people outside
   India have come up with valuable suggestions and comments regarding
   the Peoples' Project Golaghat-2000, which was formally launched  on
   June 15.    It  may be mentioned that the details of the project is
   available at:  http://www.cyberspace.org/~mozz/pp2000.html.
Compiled from newspaper and agency reports for private circulation only.
      [S=Sentinel, AT=Assam Tribune, Agencies = UNI, PTI, PIB]
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